For Honor? Problems in the Rhetoric of Skill in Games

Ubisoft’s For Honor released on Valentine’s Day to some chuckles at the irony of a brutal if hyperbolic medieval decapitation-fest on a day popularized by elementary school kids in the US trading Star Wars and Minions cards and heart candies. As with a great many video games today that feature a large online component, critical and professional review sites delayed their formal reviews of For Honor until sometimes as much as a week after the release date in order to test the game while running on servers live with real players, but those reviewers and gamers also shared early impressions based on closed and open beta sessions that ran in early 2017.

Regardless of novice or professional, or from Ubisoft itself, For Honor is utterly absurd. In its premise, For Honor pits Apollyon, an approximation of an angel of death in the Greek and Hebrew, or essentially Ares, as a black-armored fiend driven to find the finest warriors through forced conflict. Apollyon instigates a number of cataclysmic events that drive Japanese samurai, Scandinavian Vikings, and European knights into battle.

The central characters in For Honor: the samurai, Vikings, and knights.

Despite the absurd premise, player impressions and professional reviews abound that describe the exceptional and unique game mechanics in For Honor. The game draws together ludic elements from the complex sword-dueling of the Bushido Blade games or Chivalry, the battlefield hack-and-slash of the Dynasty Warriors games, intricate combos in fighting game series like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, and the squad-based first- and third-person-shooter tactics found in the Battlefield series and Rainbow Six games. Players find a deceptively deep and complex combat system, one that involves the samurai, Viking, or knight managing a roster of light attacks, heavy attacks, unblockable and zone attacks, charged attacks, combos, blocks, dodges, feints, parries, guard breaks, and throws. For Honor‘s ludic novelty relies on managing all these movies within three stances: left, right, and high.

Gorgeous Problems

Everyone seems to agree on one thing: For Honor is gorgeous and it’s exciting to don mythologized warriors from medieval history. There is also general agreement that Ubisoft didn’t address a series of problems in closed and open betas. Among those problems: the always online digital rights management (DRM) system, use of peer-to-peer networks (P2P), and the ambiguous matchmaking ratio (MMR).

The first references the broad dissatisfaction that a game with offline components requires a constant internet connection, something especially poignant at the contentious Xbox One announcement at E3 in 2013. Modern concerns about consistent internet availability and privacy and data collection fueled the immediate backlash and Microsoft’s quick policy reversal.

The second problem refers to the general consensus that heavily online multiplayer games like For Honor should be supported by dedicated servers for consistent online experiences. P2P server setups depend on individual user internet connections to piggy-back on one another, which works effectively enough for two people dueling but can stagger and become completely unstable for the eight players that might be involved in a For Honor match.

Third, players and reviewers have found and continue to experience frustration with an ineffective MMR, which frequently pairs players of radically different proficiency or skill.

High block in For Honor. Stances in the game are left, right, and high.

Since launch, new problems have been identified that can mar the otherwise excellent potential in For Honor. A problem that often frustrates gamers and that reviewers identify in For Honor is microtransactions and the related phenomenon of developers releasing games only to dole out finished or upcoming additional content for more money. The in-game currency for unlocking aesthetic and gameplay gear for characters is “steel,” and For Honor offers steel packs for direct purchase for up to $100, which can be stacked. Like with many games today, players may spend several times the basic purchase price of the game. At the same time, For Honor‘s microtransactions are wholly optional and hardly the most egregious problem.

Difficulty Metrics and Skill Rhetoric in Gaming

Beyond the issues described above (and new problems, including the continued way that PvP modes don’t repopulate between games and drop all players or the AFK nonsense in multiplayer vs AI bot Dominion), the more important and more fundamental problem in For Honor and other games centers on how it determines “skill” and the way it contributes to the incessant and inaccurate rhetoric about relative gamer skill and game difficulty. Hayden Dingman’s review for PC World hits upon the problem. He writes, “Not only does [the game’s gear system] seem entirely unnecessary—the game would certainly be better if it were based on raw skill and had nothing to do with numbers.” Dignman’s review is predicated on the idea that gear that can enhance damage, for instance, muddies an experience that would be better if it relied on its purest form—player’s skill. For a collection of obvious but seemingly obscure reasons, arguments like Dingman’s that skill is an objective and measurable characteristic are inaccurate and untenable.

One element that negates an objective skill metric is getting stabbed in the back. Or knocked off a cliff by an unseen foe. Some might argue that player skill in For Honor includes the ability to see players and AI bots off screen or to manage everything on the HUD in ways that would allow you to spot backstabbers, but we’d also run into the ironic larger rhetoric about how the best gamers wouldn’t need things like the HUD. Many, many forums and reddit threads and various spots online, and no doubt representative gamers, lament the ways that players and AI “bots” use tactics that are undeniably dishonorable.

Harried battlefield in Ubisoft’s For Honor — one of the prime places to get stabbed in the back.

Before a broader discussion of skill in gaming, it’s worth understanding how Ubisoft and For Honor employ an in-game skill metric. In the single player and coop story mode, the player determines within conventional difficulty settings for video games—easy, normal, hard, realistic—what level of AI bot the player wants to face. A crucial difference exists in multiplayer—the game determines, through an unspecified and unclear MMR, human opponent and AI bot levels based on “player skill.” Ubisoft explains the player-versus-player (PvP) MMR in the following way:

For the skill parameter, we expand iteratively from players of your skill level from Strict to Medium and finally Extended. We expand to All Skills for any final matches before we timeout the matchmaking.

Ubisoft does not explain “skill parameter,” but gamers are broadly familiar with the concept from other MMO and online multiplayer games. A skill parameter intends to match up similarly skilled players for close-matched contests. Reading player experiences in the forums, anyone can see that the skill MMR in For Honor doesn’t currently work. We can also see from player experiences that the skill MMR in the game for cooperative multiplayer versus AI bots doesn’t currently work. While the problems facing For Honor are multitude, exacerbated by it’s wonderful potential, it’s this latter form of multiplayer—cooperative multiplayer vs. AI—that is the most interesting and fundamentally frustrating problem.

It seems quite likely that For Honor determines the MMR metric through the game’s “Prestige” ranking, yet Prestige is a poor, inaccurate proxy for skill. A player earns Prestige for any of the current roster of 12 warrior characters after completing a multiplayer event. Prestige is determined by XP, or experience points, an incredibly common function shared with countless games today. Players earn Prestige regardless of how skillfully they play, another commonality, including by just cohabitating a game with another player with “Champion Status,” which boosts the XP for all players in the team. In short, Prestige is a far more accurate representation of time spent playing For Honor than it is a representation of how skillful or effective a player is with a particular character. (It may also be the case that For Honor uses kill/death ratios or similar metrics to contribute to its MMR, but these are similarly problematic, as described by backstabbing, above.)

A misunderstanding of the “10,000 hour rule,” codified by psychologist Anders Ericsson and popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers, may contribute to the absurd equivocation of Prestige and skill. We intuitively understand that in order to become masterful (at anything), one must work hard and practice a great deal. The “10,000 hour rule” prompted Gladwell to inductively quantify and specify patterns in masterful humans to show links to their spending 10,000 hours of work and practice, especially while young. The phenomenon is hardly that clean or simple, though, and each human can offer anecdotal evidence to support the complexity of time and skill: hapless guitar skill after dozens of lessons, cooking that’s never improved despite immense effort, a body type that disallows competitive basketball play despite practicing and playing for years.

There are no doubt For Honor players who started the game with a “Prestige 0” Viking and who are insignificantly if at all improved as a “Prestige 2” Viking, a rank that represents dozens of hours playing the character. In For Honor, the character’s gear likely improves (e.g., costing less stamina to use), something Dignman laments, but For Honor‘s MMR then pits that higher-level gear against higher-skill AI bots. The issue, in other words: Top-tier clubs and exceptional shoes and slacks won’t make the casual golfer competitive with the club or PGA pro and the phenomenon is even clearer when swapping cars with an F1 driver for a race home.

Remember, too, For Honor features a current roster of 12 characters (with new characters to be added in upcoming DLC), each with a unique move set and play style. Imagine the player who is exceptional as that Viking character, has Prestige 5 and gear at 108 (while the average for players a week and a half after release was likely below Prestige 1 and gear in the 20s), and wants to try a new character, a knight with a markedly different move set and play style. The player would much rather learn while playing, and plays casually anyway, so enters a multiplayer mode for 4-player versus 4-AI bots, like Dominion, Brawl, Elimination, or Skirmish. Based on the context described above, and detailed by player experiences in the forums, that Viking player will face the efficient and dirty Level 2 AI bots, and will be slaughtered.

For Honor only notes AI bot level in quick “killed by” screens, but players can determine AI bots at higher levels (i.e., 2 and 3) by how they behave. Higher-level AI bots are much more adept at blocking, for instance, they deploy attacks while changing stances, dodge more, activate “revenge” mode far more often, use unblockable attacks more, throw more and with far greater chance of throwing the player into a hazard, and they execute players and interrupt player executions of other AI bots.

An example of a situation with a higher-level bot might be instructive. The Conqueror is a “turtle” or “tank” knight character, a bulky shield-and-flail toting character with strong defense and powerful attacks. At Level 2 and 3, Conqueror AI bots block almost everything, including guard breaks and throws, and frequently knock the player down or into hazards. The tactic I generally use when facing a Level 2 or 3 Conqueror, regardless of my Prestige 10 Kensei samurai, is to run and to do something that I find absurd—I try to find a way to draw an ally in to stab the Conqueror in the back or to backstab the Conqueror myself. In For Honor, then, the player will get stabbed in the back and the game will compel the player to stab other players and AI bots in the back. Or, as Arif writes, there is no honor in For Honor.

Git Gud

Voice these experiences and concerns, as many have in the forums and online, and the ludicrous response trope follows the general difficulty rhetoric: “git gud.” Dr Josh Call studies difficulty in video games and promotes a more nuanced understanding of difficulty than what’s embodied in “git gud.” Based on what already currently exists in the forums and online, a response to the Conqueror example posed above would likely include snark about dodging and parrying the Conqueror’s attacks. Parrying, however, is arguably one of the hardest things to do in For Honor, as it is essentially a layered system of QTEs (quick time events). To parry on default console gamepads, the player must hold the left trigger to lock on to the opponent Conqueror, time the right stick to match one of the three directions the Conqueror might use to attack (the first QTE), and if the direction is matched, time a right trigger press in sync with the moment of attack (the second QTE).

I can parry, just not with consistency or efficacy. Many in the forums comment that these higher-level bots in For Honor are better than most human players, and “better” is a remark on consistency and efficacy. As Call would likely argue, the parrying and any other tactic in the game is seen as “difficult” relative not just to a player’s pattern-recognition, understanding of a character’s move set, and time spent in practicing, but also to player dexterity, muscle memory, innate skill, and probably to player age and other more variable factors. The jumping, spinning snipers infamous in Call of Duty and other FPS games for awesome killstreaks without aimbots or the “hardcore” gamers that best Dark Souls and Nioh and similar games might spew “git gud” about skill and difficulty, but all evidence and our shared experience argues that such aptitude may have nothing to do with simply practicing to get better.

Beyond “git gud,” some of the responses to supremely tough AI bots include ideas that these bots are practice for playing against the more idiosyncratic (and sometimes equally proficient) human opponents in PvP multiplayer. Importantly, from the general hostility in online PvP play to the interest in just having fun to even that practice for PvP, there a host of reasons players may want to play against AI and not other humans in For Honor and other games. Unfortunately, Ubisoft and For Honor privilege PvP over AI play. For instance, one of the primary ways to earn XP and “steel” currency (for gear) is through Contract Orders and Daily Orders; in the former, players are offered two AI orders for every four PvP orders, while in the latter players can complete one of each (until mid-April’s 1.05 patch). Disincentivized to play against AI by a lack of control over the difficulty of the AI bots you face, derision of your skill, and diminished XP and steel, Ubisoft and For Honor then provoke you with AI bots who stab you in the back, decapitate you, and then taunt you—taunt you with taunts that you cannot use or equip.

The ninja-like Orochi samurai mic-drops his katana in a taunt that players currently can’t access.

Inazo Nitobe writes in the highly influential Bushido about the fundamental principles of the samurai and the chivalrous code of ethics for samurai and European knights. Among these principles, Nitobe argued benevolence, honor, duty, fealty, and more contributed to the Japanese concept of youyu, or a thoughtful mind and stance about conflict. He relays the story of Kenshin and Shingen. Despite being at war with Shingen, upon hearing of Hojo’s refusal to ship rice to Shingen’s province, Kenshin is lauded for shipping Shingen rice and writing, “I do not fight with salt, but with the sword.” Nitobe smartly connects the concept in bushido to Nietzsche for Western readers; Nietzsche wrote, “You are to be proud of your enemy; then the success of your enemy is your success also.” Ubisoft might learn something about the source material and take the game’s namesake more seriously. It can’t make humans play with honor (even though some do anyway, and despite attempts like the XBL’s reputation system), but an easy way to increase the honor in the game would be to allow players to be more like Kenshin, to determine the AI bot level they want to play. Making that update to the game would trump an inane argument linking time played to proficiency and would also be the easiest fix among the host of problems in For Honor, an interesting game that is absolutely brilliant when played honorably.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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  1. For Honor kind of seems like a perfect multiplayer counterpart to Nioh in a way. I’m trying not to get seduced by any more games with the Switch right around the corner (buying it next week!) but reading this article excites me about this game.

  2. It definitely takes quite a few cues from fighting games. Sure, nothing in it is as mechanically complex as doing instant air dash combos in Guilty Gear, but it’ll still require a hefty amount of practice to “git gud”. Hell, if I wasn’t already knee deep in fighters, I’d probably give For Honor a shot.

  3. Loved the game. For just regular playing you need to at least play to level 10 before you can competently just wield the base mechanics.

    Then it took me another 2 days to master 1 class with most of its nuances, the tutorial only teaches the very basics, class specific skills and things like attack feinting need to be learned on your own. Lvl2 AI is better than 95% of the player base. It’s hard to master but I felt rewarded when I just became competent.

    One of the best multiplayer game I’ve played.

  4. Sean Gadus

    The concept of the game might be incredibly absurd, but it sounds awesome and extremely fun.

    Additionally, from this article, it sounds like there is a lot more nuanced to the game than many people might perceived from the concept or trailers of the game.

    Great article!

  5. I tried the beta but couldn’t be bothered to put the required effort in.

  6. For a few months back, Ubisoft kept sending me invites for the beta, but I had been ignoring them up to this point due to having too much on my plate as it is. You’ve definitely got my interest piqued now, though in the game. Thanks!

  7. I feel it lacks a good training or bot balancing system. What I mean is when I played for the first time I started with the Warden and all the bots seemed relatively easy when I did the Player vs. AI mode on any game type, but after I got to level 10 all of the bots went from level 0-1 to 2s only. So when I want to get better with the Warden I hopped over to the “how to play” tab and did all of the practices and free mode without a problem. To me I seemed to understand the Warden a little bit more then I tried the “Duel Practice” and both of the bot levels. To me the bot levels on this is not very challenging. On level 0 the opponent just stands then as you can wail on them like a training dummy as they regenerate health and on level 1 its more or less just a raider using heavy attacks constantly. So after that I went back to multiplayer and tried the game types again and boy did I get wrecked. When I faced any other hero with any class I always lost and especially when my reaction time isn’t perfect and I get guard blocked and repeated heavy and light attacks thrown at me.

    The incredibly difficult bots with perfect combos and the crazy reaction time a person has to have to enjoy this game is getting to be a little too much for me.

    • In a way, it can be easier against players than bots. The bots can be incredibly good at countering your hits/combos.. I just practiced how to deal with the conqueror, when playing a peacemaker and even beating a level 1 bot conqueror with the peacemaker can be quite challenging in a custom game 1v1. I set it to 99 rounds and practiced away, losing every time for the first 15 rounds and then started to get occasional wins as I figured the only sure way to land against bots with a peacemaker, is to counter them and hit when they can’t block etc.. Several other level 1 bots I have had no issues with but conqueror.. man – he was like my kryptonite. 😀

      Don’t give up.. it sure does feel frustrating to feel like you’re not getting any better, but I’m sure it all amounts to something. Every “skill ladder” will surely take longer to get past, but practice will get us there.

    • Paul A. Crutcher

      Thanks Cho. I’ve read what Lenz suggests and that level of commitment is admirable. After the recent May Season 2 update, the forums show people complaining about Level 3 bots, and I’m with them. Just because your Prestige is high doesn’t mean you’re skilled. Similarly, playing a lot, even practicing a lot, like Lenz suggests, might not increase your skill enough to take on Level 3 bots. Ubisoft drops in two new characters, for instance, and so people with overall high Prestige but trying out new characters can expect to get crushed by parries, counters, throws, super revenge, and more by Level 2 and Level 3 bots. Sure, my Kensei is now a 13 or so, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy getting slaughtered 3-on-1 by Level 2 and Level 3 bots in Dominion.

  8. All recent Ubisoft titles seem unfinished and lacking any real polish. I wanted to love both The Division and For Honor, as they looked new and fresh concepts in development. however in reality they are clunky, (the division particularly) has terrible AI, making any immersion in the playable world all but impossible.

    • You know Ubisoft is a worldwide conglomerate, right?

      * The Division was developed primarily in Sweden, the first time ever they have led a Ubisoft title.

      * For Honour was developed in Montreal, but “leftover staff” as they focus on Far Cry and Watch Dogs.

  9. For Honor is great, only bad thing is when you don’t lock on in combat you look like a autistic kid swinging around a Nerf sword.

  10. I love the combat system because of how simple it seems to me. They’ve got a very detailed and realistic combat system with very simple controls.

  11. Slaidey

    This was in-depth and a good read should one ever decide to buy the game.

  12. Mason Elizondo

    This article was better than the whole game. The game is the clunkiest piece of crap I have ever played. I will never get the last two hours of my life back.

    • Paul A. Crutcher

      Thanks Mason. Indeed, I think the problems it poses are interesting, especially for those of us who think about difficulty/skill in games; but you’re also right that the game can certainly feel clunky and unbalanced, particularly with the connection and P2P issues.

  13. Waited a long time for this game, and after just playing it a few days it was AWESOME, the graphics are superb, level of detail is beautiful, so much time and effort went into this game and it shows.

  14. The combat system needs work… its hard… i mean HARD… and as low as levelup 8 i still get killed instantly… attacked by a giant Viking just seems impossible..

  15. Interesting piece. The game is good but it’s too stuck in it’s way for mechanics. It is a extreme black and white thinking game.

  16. Quinlan

    Games like this suck because the input is all wrong. Games like this ‘require’ hand unit controllers (think HTC Vive’s).

  17. It is hard to pick up for new players because most of us are button mashers.

    *rubs controller all over body pressing all the buttons*

    • I can remember being 10 years old and playing my younger brother in video games. He would sit and mash buttons. Some how he would win, because games back then did not care about animation. That was until I took time to learn the game and create patterns and combinations of my own. Now I see it happening again in this community. Those who were good through button mashing will hate the learning curve simply because they never had to take time and study a game. You see the word study and automatically assume I am trying to mix work with pleasure. I don’t see it that way. If you love doing something then I am sure you will enjoy researching it.

      • Paul A. Crutcher

        Power: Good point. The problem I see is that even if we have the move lists and can understand character (and opponent) patterns, we may not be capable of being fast or dexterous enough to play at high levels (e.g., against Level 3 bots). The Peacekeeper’s 3-hit stab effect after a guard break, for instance, shows up in the forums as one such example. The timing for the second and third hits requires a fair amount of precision, and many gamers seem frustrated by the fact that they cannot use that move efficiently. I can do it (and the Centurion’s similar move) sporadically in practice and low-stress duels, but not consistently in competitive modes or against crazy-fast Level 2 and Level 3 attackers or AI.

  18. The combat is clunky and slow.

  19. I love this game, its different in every way and makes you feel like your there in battle.. upto the blocking tech… then it lets you sigh with anger..and beat you mouse with a sledge hammer.

  20. Played the beta back then for about ten minutes. That was enough. Not one to add to my list if I’m honest.

    • That’s my initial impresson. Admittedly I didn’t give it much of a go, I have such a backlogue of games I couldn’t be bothered to be honest!

    • Nia Lacy

      Tried the beta and it was a bit smack, parry, whack, duck, rinse, repeat for me.

      Graphics are pretty good the animations are fun and the MP bigger battles were ok.

  21. For everyone that is having troubles with games that haves a learning curve.
    Tip 1: Git
    Tip 2: gud

  22. People who are used to playing games like Dark Souls adapt well to this game.

    For people like me, who pvp in primarily RPGS (Shadowbane, Aion, Black Desert, etc….) are at a disadvantage due to the carpel tunnel ambidexterity of the 4 paddle controllers.

  23. Ayannal

    I think its a false dichotomy that a game needs to be complex to have a high skill cap. A game that I spent my early gaming days playing, almost to a sickening point was the original N64 SSB. This game was very easy to pick up, but I can tell you truly mastering the game took quite a bit of time, skill, training etc. I used to put 3 lvl 9s on the same team against me, no items, and win. Ive beaten the campaign with every character on hardest difficulty without dying once. Etc. Truly mastering the game, you realize how 1 small mistake, will cost you a life against an equally skilled player… But did it require me spending 3 hours in tutorial and training to learn the game? No. I could pick it up and play with relative ease…

    Games like Overwatch, are another great example. You pick it up, spend 5 min learning the basics and off you go. Its intuitive and simple.

    • Paul A. Crutcher

      Smart addition. Thanks for the comment Ayannal.

      Like many fighting games, clunky or not For Honor is complex. Would be fine if the game acknowledged that time played isn’t equivalent to skill. Overwatch and, generally, multiplayer PVP help.

  24. Almost every multiplayer game has a pretty high skill level sooner or later because you have to keep up with your competitors. So the difficulty of a multiplayer game is mostly dependant on how difficult it is to get better.

    • Paul A. Crutcher

      Good point ruzz. Part of *For Honor’s* skill dynamic is against AI, though, and the argument about skill and difficulty remains in single-player games.

  25. The problem with For Honor is not the game, its the tickrate and the server structure. Its not dedicated and its not P2P its something in between, and to anyone whos bothered to look it already causes situations where when vs some players it causes critical lag enabling essentially cheating. Thanks Ubisoft.

  26. hopeness

    This game is way to complex for me. I’ve only had bad experience so far.

    • I feel that most of your bad experience comes from not playing many fighting games, which For Honor is at it’s core. It’s pretty standard in fighting games that if you get hit, it comes with a short stun where you’re unable to do anything; this allows the skilled player to find combo chains that link together well, allowing very little reaction time to get out. New players who come from the of hack-and-slash RPG era find this counter-intuitive because all they’ve ever played are games where the only consequence for being hit is the loss of health.

  27. Barkley

    I like the concept behind the game and its battle system, but I wonder if it is actually popular enough due to its complexity compared to other multiplayer games.

  28. This game does look batshit, but from seeing my brother playing the demo I’m not that interested. All the technical problems stated in this article are so prevalent from watching someone else play it, though the story concept greatly satisfies the 12-year-old in me who came up with a very similar idea to this game called World of Warriors.

  29. TheK3

    I only managed to play For Honor during the beta periods. Was a lot of fun, definitely enjoyed beating my friends as the Nobushi.

  30. Great article, some very interesting insights here. I think with any game that has such a great number of players, multiplayer matchmaking always ends up being an issue. At this point, it seems like it should now simply be a means of minimising this impact rather than eradicating it completely. Even so, the problems in this game for such a big release are obviously going to be fixated on. Regardless, good viewpoint on an interesting game.

  31. This is a great analysis of, not only the skill problems with For Honor, but a lot of skilled based games as a whole. I was really excited when i first saw footage of the beta for the game as it premised that good skill, but also smart thinking, can lead to winning a duel. It was all the more refreshing since it was a major developer (Ubisoft) promoting a game with competitive Esports potential that seemed simple enough for new people to handle, but allowed for a great distinction in skill. As a big fan of fighters such a Street Fighter, it was also exciting to see as it carried a lot of the same principle that makes those games so great but providing accessibility to newcomers which could lead to them trying out fighting games and becoming part of the community, which is slowly dwindling. But after launch, the game has been plagued with so many problems that it lost all credibility as a competitive game due to the problems you have pointed out.

    • Paul A. Crutcher

      Thanks Mxvec. In a 2v2 mode called “Brawl,” I was message-bombed by a player on the other team because my teammate and I double-teamed him after his teammate died. He asked why, and I wondered what the game suggested that would prompt us not to do just that. He won — demolishing us easily — but showed the problems you and I described. Layers and layers of play problems and reasons why competitive multiplayer just doesn’t work on *For Honor.*

  32. Awesome game that is

  33. The technical problems are a problem in many games of similar formats

  34. kinda hard for me to get behind a multi-player that leans on balance so heavily but still goes for the micro-transaction stat boost approach

    • Paul A. Crutcher

      Agreed. At the same time, it’s clear when a low-level player doesn’t exploit server lag or anything and decimates a team of high-level opponents (or low-levels ruining AI teams) that it’s not all about gear stats.

  35. Really interesting point about the AIs “dishonoring” the game and how hard it is to evaluate players’ skill.
    So your solution is to make the standards more specific for judging skills, or to allow players more control over how they’re cast? I wasn’t clear on that.

  36. Paul A. Crutcher

    Thanks IndiLeigh. I’m not sure why the games don’t give more control to the players. In one of the Battlefield games, we could rent servers, for instance, and toggle any number of settings to host the sorts of games we wanted to play. Ignoring the P2P setup, it’s hard to understand why players can’t toggle to only join games in *For Honor* with Level 1 AI bots, or why we can’t play Dominion without gear stats, or why we can’t choose to play only with a team of Vikings or without any Shinobis. Specific and clear standards and metrics for ranking skill would be excellent, which Ubisoft could provide, but I would prefer more player control, as that mitigates the problems with skill and difficulty.

  37. Jonathan Judd

    wow, who knew video-games had such complex issues behind them, you almost forget that their just superficial games devoid of any real consequence or meaning in lived socio-political reality.

  38. This is a large issue in the game even a year after. Getting stomped by dishonorable gangs of enemies or high level bots is still common, but I still play the game for the days when equal-level opponents are found and good sets are had. I’m curious to hear your thoughts on how Ubisoft’s continued support of the game has affected this or other aspects of the game in any way.

  39. Sunni Rashad

    Git gud became such a toxic refrain.

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